<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A chance click of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh with BJP’s symbol – the lotus – after casting his vote in Lucknow went viral on social media. The picture shows Rajnath raising a finger with a lotus in the background with a bunch of other flowers. The Union Home minister exercised his franchise at the Nursery Municipal School at Mall Avenue. After casting his vote, clicks by photographers saw him showing his inked finger with symbol of BJP lotus in the background.“It looked as if Rajnath Singh was appealing to people for voting in favour of the BJP,” said Ashutosh Tripathi, a photographer.
ALSO READ Uttar Pradesh civic polls phase 2: Voting across 25 districts underway amid tight security When the picture got viral on the social media and news portals, opposition parties including the Samajwadi Party, Congress and BSP lodged a protest. Realising their mistake, the polling officers at the booth immediately removed the painting on the wall just behind the EVM.“It is a gross violation of code of conduct. It was a deliberate attempt and misuse of official machinery to benefit the ruling BJP and its candidates,” alleged Capt S.J.S. Makker, a Congress spokesman.
ALSO READ Global citizen Priyanka Chopra eligible to vote in upcoming UP civic polls “Where is the BJP at fault? Polling officials seems to have forgotten to remove the painting which unnecessarily created a controversy at the Mall Avenue polling booth,” clarified Vijay Bahadur Pathak, BJP State General Secretary. A painting of the left was inadvertently left at the wall of the classroom where the Union Home minister and other VVIPs cast their votes. Polling continued for over three hours. It was removed only when opposition objected to it after Rajnath’s picture went viral on social media.“We will hold an inquiry an initiate action against those responsible for it if any one lodged a complaint with the commission,” assured Ved Praksh, SEC Spokesperson.The Union Home Minister Rajnath is also Member of Lok Sabha from Lucknow Parliamentary seat, once represented by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.Low voting in second phaseThe second phase of polling for urban local bodies’ elections in Uttar Pradesh recorded low turn-out during the second phase of polling on Sunday to elect mayors and representative for local government in six Nagar Nigams, 51 Nagar Palika and 132 Nagar Panchayats in 25 districts.The State Election Commissioner (SEC) S.K. Agarwal said that the polling per cent in the second phase was about 50-52 per cent against 55 per cent polling during the first phase on November 22.The SEC too admitted low turn-out, particularly in Luck now which recorded as low as 34 per cent of polling only. “Despite our best efforts, voters did not use their democratic rights. I am surprised that turn-out was low in mayoral polls,” pointed the SEC.Complaints of missing voters’ names in the list were reported from all districts which went to polls on Sunday. Names of the BJP MP and former Union Minister Kalraj Mishra, PM Narendra Modi’s proposer Veerbhadra Nishad, State Tourism Minister Dr Rita Bahuguna Joshi, three-time Lucknow Mayor Dr Dauji Gupta and DGP Sulkhan Singh were among few big names who could not use their franchise due to their names missing from the voters’ list.Veerbhadra Nishad said that he will take up the issue with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Public outcry led to heated verbal duals with polling officials at several places, including Lucknow where a few social organizations demanded cancellation of polling. Agitated voters who were denied voting staged a dharna a VVIP polling booth in Mall Avenue in Lucknow.Taking up their ire, the Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav tweeted: “Media reports that a lot of voters’ names are missing from the voting list of today’s elections. This type of Digital India cannot take us forward.”However, the Union Minister Rajnath Singh and deputy Chief Minister Dr Dinesh Sharma cast their votes in Luck now. Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, Health Minister Dr Siddharth Nath Singh and several other ministers of Yogi Adityanath Cabinet also used their franchise.Firing by Samajwadi Party supporters in Farrukhabad was reported in which one BJP worker was injured. BJP local leaders alleged that they made an attempt to capture booth. Stone-pelting between supporters of candidates was reported from Jaiganj area in Aligarh district. No one was injured and police arrested the trouble-makers.BJP pre-stamped ballot papers were alleged to have been recovered from Lalitpur district. However, the district administration rubbished the charge saying that it was handiwork of some miscreants.Technical snag in EVMs was reported from Lucknow and few other districts. As many as 45 EVMs faulty were changed to resume polling in Lucknow. Allegations of rigged EVMs were not reported from any districts.